Tuesday, April 05, 2005

Gay divorce

According to an Associated Press story by Toby Sterling, the first ever study of gay divorce rates, in the Netherlands, has found that Dutch gays have gotten divorces at about 1% per year since gay marriage was legalized in 2001. This is roughly the same as for heterosexual marriages.
Is anyone surprised? Probably not.
I have a feeling, though, that this study will be ill-received by American conservatives and especially the religious right. Any study showing that gay marriage represents real commitment and love stands to undermine the rightwing agenda, which, alas, does not seem to really be concerned about the "institution of marriage" at all, but whose rhetoric about the sanctity of marriage rather is one visible face of their fear of those who do not share their way of life or worldview.

I am sort of groping for a connection I imagine--maybe I am wrong here, but it seems to make sense, somehow, that the Shiavo media circus and the issues of gay marriage and abortion and a bunch of other hotbutton issues, plus the quiescent but still present issues of race, are all connected deep in the brain where emotions about matters of power and control reside. Especially the emotion of fear.

But the idea that if can dissipate fear you can probably dissipate a lot of extremist ideology is probably kind of useless, if not outright wrong. Useless, in that no one knows how to do that, and wrong (possibly) in the way that 1950s reductionist social psychology was wrong that too early toilet training was the key to fascism.

Or maybe it wasn't wrong, some other part of my brain says.

Anyway, my self-congratulation that we left-leaning people have a way of processing power and fear issues that works better for us, given a world no longer consisting of roving hunter-gatherer bands, may of course, simply be an illusion. Probably is.

To return to the AP story, it reminds me that a lot of the people I knew in 1964 when I graduated from college got married upon graduation. All of them, without exception, are divorced. But of my circle of friends, the two gay guys who had started living with each other at that time, are still together, and happily so, the last time I checked. Growing old together.

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